Monday, July 6, 2009

Watkins Glen Race Reactions

The IndyCar Series concluded their ninth race of the 2009 at Watkins Glen International Raceway on Sunday. Justin Wilson of Dale Coyne Racing captured a historic victory for several reasons. Wilson put Dale Coyne Racing for the first time in nearly 25 years and broke the 10 race streak of the combo of Team Penske and Ganassi Racing. IndyCarGarage breaks down five race reactions from Sunday’s race.

1. Finally a new face in the winners circle

It was great to see Dale Coyne Racing in the winner’s circle for the first time in 558 attempts. Justin Wilson provided a great addition for Coyne’s team this year, as he has proven that he is an up and coming driver in the series as showed by his dominance throughout the weekend. Most importantly about Wilson’s victory is that it provided a break from the traditional winner circle routine of a Penske or a Ganassi machine being celebrated. Wilson’s victory hopefully can open the flood gates for more drivers from more teams entering the winner’s circle or a podium finish.

2. Points Championship shakes up again

Dario Franchitti 15th place finished mixed up the points chase, as Scott Dixon now leads Ryan Briscoe and Franchitti by 19 points a piece. Helio Castroneves and Danica Patrick round out the top five, with Dan Whedlon and Marco Andretti still with a outside shot of getting back in the mix. Dixon now is in position to capture his second consecutive point’s championship with his third place finish at the Glen. The Penske/Ganassi teams continue to dominate the point’s championship, but as Justin Wilson proved on Sunday, anything is possible for the remaining eight races.

3. Marco Andretti and his rough day turned top five finish

Marco Andretti had the unfortunate luck of seeing Mario Moraes early in the race on Sunday and cut a tire while battling with Moraes. Andretti used some clever pit strategy along with lucky yellows to capture a top five finish. Andretti battled all day to get back to the front and it showed with his aggressive driving and unwillingness to ride at the back of the pack. Andretti-Green Racing isn’t having a typical AGR season, and most of the focus throughout the season has been on Danica Patrick possible move to NASCAR. Marco Andretti could salvage the second half of the season for AGR with more top five finishes and keeping his mouth shut as well. Marco is a young American that needs to finish towards the top to promote interest for the series.

4. Ryan Hunter-Reay can’t catch a break

Ryan Hunter-Reay might be having one of the most unlucky season in recent memory. Hunter-Reay captured a second place finish at the season opener, but it has all been down hill since then. Sunday was no different, as Hunter-Reay failed to complete a lap, as he was caught in a traffic jam on the opening lap. The interesting thing about Hunter-Reay is that he has kept his composure throughout this tough stretch. The IndyCar Series has a young talented American in Hunter-Reay and he brings sponsorship with him as well, hopefully we can see better results out of him in the near future to promote his growth in the series.

5. The 2010 Schedule is a work in progress

News out of the IndyCar Series this weekend at Watkins Glen from Terry Angstadt, the league's president of the commercial division is that the 2010 schedule is still a work in progress. The schedule, which will be announced somewhere between the Kentucky and Mid-Ohio race, figures to be 16 – 18 races. Angstadt mentioned that the double header format at Cleveland is still in the mix, New Hampshire Motor Speedway is also a candidate, and a possibly street course around Gillette Stadium. The street course around Gillette Stadium is not a possibility until 2012. Milwaukee figures to be the odd oval out at this time, as it seems they are having problems paying their fees to both the IRL and NASCAR. However the 2010 schedule plays out in the next month, one thing remains to be seen and that is the development of new race cars. Brian Barnhardt said that news cars won’t be ready until 2012 because of research and development for the new machines. All IndyCar fans can only sit and wait for what the future holds for the series.

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